With the shocking news we received in the last few days I have been asked to write a short obituary to our dear friend Master Paul de Gorey.
Paul was born in Germany and grew up in Solihull near Birmingham. When he left home he spent time on a Kibbutz and living in Jersey, where his grandfather was from, before returning to the UK. Jersey stayed important to him incorporating the name of the biggest castle there into his SCA name. As one of his early jobs he worked in an Italian restaurant; learning to cook inevitably led to his love of cooking and food.
To many of us it feels like he has always been there, and always would be. Paul’s origins in the SCA are lost in time but he joined the very earliest incarnation the FarIsles in the 1980s. It is rumoured that he got his first authorisation card in 1983 and was active at the very start of our society here in the isles and was a member of both the Old Fat Guys and Brighthelm households. He attended the first Drachenwald Coronation in 1993. He received his Award of Arms in 1994. He was made a member of the order of the Laurel in 1996 and in typical Paul fashion eschewed his vigil in favour of helping the event organisers to repair the plumbing to keep the event happening.
His cheery presence welcoming you to an event or helping you with stuff was just a force of nature. He was our rock on which we built our palace.
Whether we were armouring, dancing, fighting, cooking, brewing, drinking, making furniture for our camp he was there, lending a hand and helping to get things done.His book on armouring for beginners is still a well loved resource and can still be found on the web today. He was very proud that the book was translated into Russian and is now circulating outside Drachenwald.
The outpouring of people talking about what he had helped them with since we received the shocking news of his passing is telling. He was someone who didn’t have a bad bone in their body. He was friendly and helpful beyond all.
On a personal note he is the reason I am the person I am today. He got me involved in cooking in mediaeval sites, introduced me to the cook who would train me and along the way he has been there for me at all times. We cooked together so often we didn’t need to talk when working.
He just wanted to do things and do them well. When I was going to be made a Laurel at a Crown Tournament he didn’t want to be bored during the fighting so he entered the tournament with Lady Aryanhwy. He wanted to do well so he trained with Duke Elfin and of course he only went and won. The oldest person to win the Crown Tournament in Drachenwald history I believe; and he went on to be a good King because of course he was.
He tried many reenactment groups, Vikings, Kentwell, and the Renaissance Footnotes dance group and loved them all and made all the things he did more memorable. Funding a trip to Estrella by bringing back armour to sell on and another time running an entire feast off found ingredients. You could tell the trout had been run over in the ford because of the marks on their mouths where they had got stuck on the bumper. Somehow getting a tour of an armour museum to handle the armour. That was just how he was.
He was many things to many people and without a doubt was our go to Laurel for stuff. I think it would be easier to mention the things he wasn’t interested in than all the things he did, we even tried to make a clock once. It would have worked if we had had the time.
He was an excellent gardener and with his lady Anne they transformed their allotment and grew all manner of vintage fruit and veg. He shared his knowledge and efforts with me time and time again in my own garden… even helping me lay the concrete for my SCA storage shed.
Beyond that though he was just there and loved to share a story. I will miss hearing of his trip to Italy and ordering Local Speciality, talking while fashioning a beautiful salad in honour of a friend’s birthday. The salad contained a stone henge of seats carved out of carrots as said friend had been busy demonstrating the arts of making those benches in wood all Raglan. This was just Paul.
He was most of all our mate, our cheery friend, our inspiration that we, too, can do it. We will remember him and carry on doing our stuff with him chatting away to us in our mind.
So I challenge you all at the earliest opportunity to raise a glass to Earl Paul de Gorey, Master of the Laurel, Member of the orders Lingquist Ring, Silver Guard and Panache, Member of the order of the Queen’s Courtesy and Justice of the Peace for the lands of West Dragonshire. Cook, Author, Dancer, Drinker and Laurel for Stuff.
“To Master Paul a friend to everyone!”